Chapter no 23

The Coworker


To: Mia Hodge From: Dawn Schiff

Subject: Re: Greetings

Dear Mia,

First of all, I want to say thank you for those lovely flowers you sent. You’re the only person in the world who remembers that tulips are the one flower that doesn’t irritate my sinuses. It brightened my day when they showed up. Especially after the terrible week I’ve been having.

So you know how much I pride myself on being prompt. In school, I never got even one tardy slip—you used to get them all the time! Sorry, I don’t mean to make you feel bad about your tardiness, but it’s just a fact. When somebody tells me to be somewhere at a specific time, you can bet I’m going to show up there on time. No excuses. In fact, I’m usually a few minutes early.

There’s nothing worse than being late.

So you can imagine how embarrassed I was when I walked into a meeting in the conference room this afternoon and saw that the meeting had already commenced. I checked my watch, but I wasn’t late. The meeting was supposed to start at two, and it was a few minutes before two. Yet

everyone was seated at the conference table, most of the croissants had been eaten, and Seth was mid-sentence.

“Gee, thanks for joining us, Dawn,” Seth said.

As I replied, “You’re welcome,” a few people snickered. I didn’t understand what was so funny though. The polite thing to do when somebody thanks you is to say you’re welcome. You learn that in kindergarten. Except I wasn’t sure why Seth thanked me in the first place, because about sixty seconds later, he ended the meeting and everybody left. I looked down at my watch again, feeling even more confused. Especially when Seth asked me in an irritated voice why I was an hour late to the meeting.

I tried to explain that I was not late. That the meeting started at two o’clock, and it was now two o’clock. Except then Seth tried to insist that the meeting started at one, which I know is not true, but it was hard to argue when everyone was in the room before me and the meeting clearly had come to a close.

Then Seth brought up the fact that I didn’t show up to a meeting yesterday, even though that meeting has been canceled. Except Seth told me it wasn’t canceled, and everyone was there but me.

I didn’t know what to say. I just stood there, my knees wobbly. This wasn’t like me. I always show up on time to meetings. And I would never not show up when I’m supposed to. There was definitely an email saying the meeting yesterday was canceled. I got it first thing in the morning in my inbox.

From Natalie.

Natalie, as the senior salesperson, is often the one to send out emails about the sales meetings. She was the one who sent out the email yesterday saying that the meeting was canceled. And she was the one who emailed me to say that the meeting was at 2 PM today.

I explained all this to Seth. He did not look like he believed me. He folded his arms across his chest and just kept shaking his head. In his eyes, Natalie can do no wrong.

“Why on earth would she do that?” he finally asked.

I wish I had an answer to that. Even now, I’m wracking my brain. What did I do to make Natalie hate me so much? I know sometimes I do things to people that get them upset and I don’t realize I even did it. Obviously, I did something like that to Natalie. I wish I could take back whatever it was. I just want to be her friend.

Then Seth told me that whatever is going on between me and Natalie, I have to find a way to work it out. Those were his words to me. Work it out, Dawn.

Except how? Natalie doesn’t like me. I don’t know how to change that. I don’t even understand why she doesn’t like me. It’s not like I told anyone her secret. Well, I did tell you, but you’re not going to tell anybody about it.

Maybe she’s angry with me because I knocked into her turtle figurine and it broke. Maybe I should buy her a new one. Except somehow I don’t think that’s it. She seemed mad at me before that happened.

I get so frustrated sometimes. Why is it so hard for me to make friends? It’s so easy for other people. When I watch Natalie and Kim engaging in a conversation together, they have this great rapport and I get so jealous. I keep trying, but it never works. You know this isn’t the first time someone has hated me for no reason. It’s happened more times than I can count.

I want to fix it. I’ve got to find a way to fix it. I’m smart. I can figure this out somehow if I think hard enough. If you have any ideas though, I’d love to hear them.

Sincerely, Dawn Schiff

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